Shepherds’ Carol (Dave Armstrong’s 10th Christmas Poem)

Shepherds’ Carol (Dave Armstrong’s 10th Christmas Poem) December 10, 2015

Angels announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds (1639), by Govert Flinck (1615-1660) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]



In the last four years I have written three Christmas poems of a narrative nature: recounting different persons’ experience on the first Christmas: Simeon (2006), the Blessed Virgin Mary (2008), and our Lord Jesus (2009). I now continue in the same fashion. It has become a literary tradition (narrative, Bible-based poems) within a personal tradition (my own Christmas poems) within a Christian liturgical tradition (Advent and Christmas). See also my Christmas web page.

* * * * *

[for the biblical background, see Luke 2:8-20]
It was like any other evening, in the fields, watching our sheep, 
Making sure no predators or reckless thieves harmed our flocks.
Our task was to ensure their safety: health, well-being to keep,
Feeding and protecting them from pits, thorns, and jagged rocks.

All of a sudden, lo, an angel! and the glory of the Lord all round, 
The darkness became as day, with radiant beams glowing bright.
Fearing for our lives, yet somehow still secure, safe, and sound,
We listened intently to the heavenly messenger on that holy night.


Telling us to not be afraid, then happily proclaiming the good news, 
The angel spoke of great joy to come, for all people, from every land.
Referring to a marvelous savior, enabling all God’s people to choose,

Salvation in the city of David; who ever heard of anything so grand!


The angel foretold a sign: a baby all wrapped up, lying in a manger, 
Messiah and Lord! God’s ways and means ever mysterious and new.
People coming from all around, to worship: friend, cousin, stranger,
Triumphant message spreading far and wide, and excitement grew.


Before we knew it, heavenly hosts appeared, praising the Lord on high, 
Singing “glory to God” and “peace and good will to men” loud and clear. 

We were dazed and stood there enthralled at the majestic celestial cry,
Pondering what we had just seen and what our ears did indeed hear.


Someone said, “let’s run and observe this wonder with our own eyes!” 
Traveling over the hills, we found the holy family, just as we were told.
We shared with all present the words of the luminous choir in the skies,
Astounding everyone with angelic stories and fulfilled prophecies of old.


Mary, blessed mother of the savior, gave us a knowing and tender look, 
She was deep in thought, contemplating how God could come to earth.
We left filled with joy, spreading words from angels and the sacred book,
Praising, glorifying God and sharing all we’d heard about the holy birth.

Written on 7 December 2010.


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